Friday, October 02, 2009

Must Be That Fresh Breeze I've Been Hearing So Much About
And what a success that's been

Here's the article from IrishCentral.com;
Holy mess: 11 million Irish Americans leave Catholic Church
Empty pews: Catholics are fleeing the Church in record numbers - particularly Irish American Catholics

A new survey shows 34 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, say they have no religion. Even more significant is that one-third of those, about 11 million people, are Irish Americans.

The survey by professors at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, does not explain why Irish Catholics are by far the highest number of people who are losing their religion every year in America.

We can only surmise the reasons for this, but I have some definite ideas. Think church sex scandals. Let's look at the timeline first.

The number of non-religious or "Nones" has nearly doubled between 1990 and now.

•In 1990, Nones accounted for 8.2 percent of the population
•In 2001 they accounted for 14.2 percent
•As of 2009, they account for 15 percent

The report estimates that the figure will grow to 25 percent in 10 years time — making non-religion the largest "religion" in America.

Why are so many Irish Catholics leaving the faith? The obvious reason to me is the church sex scandals. They disproportionately affected Irish Catholics and most of the abusers we read about were Irish Catholic priests.

Certainly, based on evidence from Ireland where hundreds of thousands have fled the church and vocations have plummeted after the church scandals there, America with a similar experience is unlikely to be any different.

There has been such incredible scrutiny of the church from every angle and the church has responded so poorly since the scandals began that it is hardly surprising that people are leaving.

For instance, the Boston archdiocese, a hub of Irish Catholicism in America, has been riven by deep scandals that surely have turned many parishioners off. It is only my opinion but Irish Catholics had a deep and almost mystical attachment to the church and followed her rules more devoutly than other groups.

"Rome dictates and Ireland takes" was the old saw about how devoutly the Irish followed the signals from the Vatican. Once that trust was broken — indeed shattered — it was always likely that many would turn away.

We are told that the leavers are "young, male and independent" and that almost all of them were identified as Catholic at age 12. The loss of faith by Irish Americans has been profound and will require an incredible effort to win the faithful departed back. The church has a massive struggle on its hands.

4 Comments:

Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

It is only my opinion but Irish Catholics had a deep and almost mystical attachment to the church and followed her rules more devoutly than other groups.

Perhaps it is due to the wonderful example provided by the late Senator from Massachusetts whom everybody knows had a deep, mystical attachment to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. *disgusting smirk"

12:34 PM  
Blogger Volpius Leonius said...

The problem is that as everyone knows the Irish like fighting and today's clergy tell you you must be "nice" at all times and never even raise your voice to people.

Irish men just don't fit into that kind of church, not even St. Patrick!

2:21 PM  
Blogger Bill Hoog said...

Damn them Narrowbacks!

3:17 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

I'm pretty sure the rot set in years before the sex
scandals came to light. I went to public schools,
yet I'm still a practicing Catholic. I grew up with
dozens of guys, mostly Irish Americans, who went
to a Jesuit prep. I can't think of one of them who
would darken a church door except at Christmas.
Many weren't married in a church, and most have
been divorced. Several haven't had their children
baptized, and the others only went through with it
to keep the grandparents happy -- but there is
no prospect of the children being trained in the
Faith. Sure, the sex scandals gave these guys
permission to cut all ties to the Church, but I
believe it was those years in the loving hands of
the Jesuits that made them WANT a reason to
go. The stories they tell ...

5:36 PM  

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